Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Country- Praying Together

"In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered...Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?" -Benjamin Franklin to the Constitutional Congress, 1787

If I had one wish for my country, it would be for us to unite in prayers for peace...Only when our backs are up against the wall will all of us rally together in prayer. This happened on December 7, 1941. It happened on September 11, 2001. But most of the time between and since, it seems as though we no longer need God's assistance. Benjamin Franklin realized this pattern just years after America won its independence.

My wish is simply for us to unite in prayer...Even if only half of us Americans would pray, that would still be 150 million prayers...

God has blessed our nation graciously since its inception in 1776. God has probably blessed us more than we deserve. Franklin asked, and I ask, "Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?" You see, I have been all over our amazing nation. I have seen the rich blessings that we sing about in songs such as "God Bless America". At a time when there is so much unrest in the world and when we have troops in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq, have we forgotten God's power? Have we forgotten God, who has answered our prayers in the past?

I pray for our country, that we return to our traditions, and that we remember the gracious mercy of God. God will hear our prayers and bless our nation if we repent and unite together. It has happened before; it can happen again. A nation praying together...is a mighty nation, our nation, America!

--- all of the above is an excerpt from 'No Atheists In Foxholes' by Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin, CDR, USN  (all pictures from Google Images)

My son Benjamin has many stories to tell of the things he went through on the way to receiving his Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the pin that US Marines wear with such pride. One thing he shared with me when he came home on Boot Leave, after surviving Boot Camp, was heartbreaking...While going through the struggles of Boot Camp, many of the young men turned to God in prayer for help and attended Chapel for spiritual aid. Bibles were passed out liberally, little pocket New Testaments with camoflage covers. Many of the young men "joined the Jesus Platoon" as they called it! Many were baptized by the Chaplain in the training swimming pool.  When the recruits made it through the Crucible and got to graduate as new Marines, they were so happy to see their families that had come to share the big day. Everyone was looking forward to their leave, getting all their gear together, not hardly able to wait to "get out of this place" for a short vacation before going on to the next level of training. In our hotel room, Ben was showing us different things he had packed up, and he had several of these little New Testaments. He said many of the young men were throwing them in the trash, saying, "I don't need God anymore; I survived Boot Camp!" This makes me want to cry even now, remembering... I'm sure many of them have changed their tune by now, realizing there is life after Boot Camp that they still need His help with! At least I fervently hope so...Some of the hazing incidents Ben can tell about that happened in SOI brought many of these tough new Marines almost to desperation and suicidal thoughts, Ben included in this group, although he was one that was still acknowledging God...I love Chaplain McLaughlin's book and have posted many little excerpts from it. May God use the Military Chaplains to help the ones that are in harm's way to a saving faith in Christ. Please pray for the Military.

(This is one of the New Testaments that Ben rescued from the trash)


Monday, April 26, 2010

Sonnet by John Donne

A wild early life, a difficult midlife, a rich and successful later life- John Donne's life was crisply divided. He wrote verse his entire life, but upon his surrender to God and King James, he found fulfillment in ministry, becoming a great preacher in the Anglican church. In his youth he wrote passionate verses on love. By the time he entered the ministry, he was writing only religious verse; in later years, he only wrote sermons. Here are excerpts from one of his Sonnets- heartfelt words from a brilliant man.

Batter my heart,
three-personed God;
for You as yet but knock,
and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand,
O'erthrow me,
and bend Your force,
to break,
and make me new.

I, like an usurp'd town,
to another due,
labor to admit You,
but, O, to no end...
Your viceroy in me,
should defend,
but is captivated,
and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love You,
and would be loved fain,
but am betrothed unto Your enemy...

Divorce me,
untie or beak the knot again,
take me to You,
imprison me...
for I, except You enthrall me,
never shall be free,
nor ever chaste,
except You ravish me.

John Donne, 1572-1631

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday Favorites- Of Pearls

Helping Chari celebrate! --One Year Of Sunday Favorites! This was the second post  I ever did...  To join the party at Happy To Design, click on the Sunday Favorites button in my left column. Congratulations, Chari! I've had fun joining you several Sundays!
(now for my original post, dated October 17, 2009)

 I found this great article about pearls... coming from the Christian's perspective. It's a great read. Very Inspiring. Please go read it and enjoy!  http://obygrace.org/blog/the-seeker/
As for me,I have come to recognize that I am a follower, not an original...in one manner of speaking. My Profound Thoughts usually originate in someone else's creative genius and I just collect treasures to pass them on.

(The following information I gathered from multiple websites) "3000 years ago, in the Arabian Gulf, divers greased their skin to keep the cold out before taking a deep breath of air and diving more than 100 feet to reach their treasure at the bottom of the sea. They were diving for PEARLS, at a time when pearls were worth more than gold. Sometimes they would dive 100 times before finding that one pearl. With only an average of one oyster in every 1000 shells containing a precious prize, many divers were required to make hundreds of dives for a single pearl. A fine cultured pearl worth hundreds of thousands, would cost a few million dollars with the same quality if it was natural pearls.
The pearl diver wears ear stoppers of beeswax, a bone clip to close his nostrils, and very little else. Grasping a weighted line to get him to the bottom quickly, he leaps into the water with a net bag for the oysters attached to another line, and sinks to the floor of the sea. The average dive of around 50 feet permits the diver to remain below a minute and a half (although some divers can stay for three minutes) and collect up to a dozen oysters before a sharp jerk on the line signals his handler above to pull him to the surface. A good diver can make 60 such descents a day, braving sharks and barracuda and the poisonous jelly fish, not to mention the possibility of cumulative damage to his body from the repeated immersions at high pressure: deafness, heart trouble, bronchitis and rheumatism."

(end of my original post)

Remember to join the Sunday Favorites Blog Party!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Famous Fatigue Jacket

Recently my mother-in-law gave me an old paperback book from 1970 to read- the autobiography of Anita Bryant titled 'Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory'. I remembered Anita Bryant from my childhood...the lady that did the Florida Orange Juice Commercials. Anybody else remember this jingle - "A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine" ?  When I was a child, my mother's parents lived in Owasso, Oklahoma, and we would go up there several times a year for visits. They lived in town, and just down the street and around the corner from their house was a little grocery store, Wells, where my brother and I would go almost every afternoon to READ THE COMIC BOOKS for sale! (Once the manager got mad at us and ran us out...) I remember seeing a poster of Anita Bryant up in the frozen juice section advertising Florida Orange Juice.
I'm sure this is not the same one, but it was probably similar. And I think I had heard an ad on the radio. We did not have TV in our home so I never saw her television ads. But all my life, I always knew Anita Bryant as the Florida Orange Juice lady. So, while reading the little paperback, I found an interesting story of a military fatigue jacket Anita had. I decided to tell the story behind it here on my blog, and started searching the internet for pictures to add to my post. WELL! So much for what I knew about Anita! I never knew she had been a political activist against homosexuals in her later life. (I also didn't know she had been in the Miss America Pageant as Miss Oklahoma)   So many pictures that came up were so derogatory and malicious - it was hard to find some that I could use. I won't go into all I found out about that, but she has had to put up with a lot from that segment of society. Also I found that she is living not too far from here!
To get to the story about the military fatigue jacket.....Anita and her husband Bob traveled many years with the world-famous Bob Hope Holiday Tours to the armed forces stationed in remote outposts overseas, entertaining troops around the world at Christmastime. She accompanied Bob Hope on his Holiday Tours more than any other female performer ever did- she was known by her trademark renditioning of 'The Battle Hymn of The Republic'- or Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory. In 1967 the tour was scheduled for Viet Nam and Anita asked one of the military escorts for a fatigue jacket to wear. Here in her words are the story behind the jacket :

---I meant of course that I'd like to buy one. I had collected dozens of military patches and other insignia from the various outfits I'd visited, and I meant to attach these to the jacket and wear it overseas. The Ranger hat I'd collected already was heavy with my "trophies". I told Bob, "I intend to cover that jacket with patches. I want every outfit over there to be well represented." Before we left Fort Leonard Wood that day, I got my jacket, all right. To my astonishment, it had my name stencilled above the left breast pocket: Bryant. It was to be more than a year before Bob and I learned the rest of THAT story.

The jacket belonged to a sergeant named Leon Bryant of Carbondale, Illinois. Later his hometown newspaper carried the story: how Seargeant Bryant came in from a three-week field problem, dirty...how the post photographer snapped his picture in the jacket before he even had a chance to wash his face...how the garment was given to Miss Anita Bryant for her use in Viet Nam. Mrs. Yvonne Bryant, the sergeants's wife, mailed me the story along with a nice letter. "When you get to Viet Nam, please look up Leon," she asked. In the article, Sergeant Bryant, asked what he'd like me to give him in exchange for his jacket, had said 'a kiss on the cheek.' I resolved to look him up and deliver....

(The decision was made) not to go to Viet Nam (for Christmas) that year. Yvonne wrote again, "If you ever feel like disposing of Leon's jacket, I would be glad to have it. He died in Viet Nam November 14, 1967, from gunshot wounds received while on combat operations when hit by hostile small arms fire. Leon was carrying a machine gun at the time and one of the members of his squad was pinned down by a VC- Leon moved to save his buddy that was being attacked, while all the members of his squad took cover...Leon saved the life of his buddy, but the VC fired on Leon, killing him instantly..."

Bob and I felt sick- utterly stricken. It hurt to learn that Leon Bryant had a newspaper clipping about his jacket and a letter from me in his pocket when he died. As I imagined the young man who once wore that jacket, I almost felt the weight of it, heavy now with insignia, across my shoulders...Yvonne Bryant telephoned us. She and her sergeant were newlyweds and had lived together only a few months before he left for Viet Nam. She told me, "Leon was a Christian. It's all right. He was proud to fight for his country. We had talked about this, about how it might happen, and he told me how he felt. Leon said he didn't mind dying for America..." ---(end of Anita Bryant's writing  from her book)

This is a Christmas Day Photo from the Bob Hope tour of 1961, Sondrestrom,Greenland

This photo is from 1966...Anita is on the far left in the white skirt. Not sure of the location. Bob Hope is in the middle.

This is the famous fatigue jacket

(all pictures from Google Images)

Hope you enjoyed this story! There are so many stories like this that our present generation does not know about; I love finding them to pass on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give Me A Dream

Give Me A Dream

Once-it seems long ago now-
I had such big dreams,
so much anticipation of the future.
Now no shimmering horizon beckons me;
my days are lackluster.
I see so little of lasting value in the daily round.
Where is Your plan for my life, Father?

You have told us that without vision,
we men perish.
So Father in heaven,
knowing that I can ask in confidence
for what is Your expressed will to give me,
I ask You to deposit in my mind and heart
the particular dream,
the special vision You have for my life.

And along with the dream,
will You give me whatever graces,
and stamina it takes
to see the dream through to fruition?
I sense that this may involve adventures
I have not bargained for,
but I want to trust You enough to follow
even if You lead along new paths.
I admit to liking some of my ruts.
But I know that habit patterns
that seem like cozy nests from the inside
from Your vantage point may be prison cells.
Lord, if You have to break down
any prisons of mine
before I can see the stars and catch the vision,
then Lord, begin the process now.
In joyous expectation,

-Catherine Marshall

I believe I can say "Amen" to this prayer with my whole heart...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Classen Ladies Tea Party

This past Saturday, April 17, I had the very great pleasure of being the organizer of the Annual Classen Ladies Tea Party. Classen is my husband's mother's maiden name. Grandma Classen's birthdate was the occasion for our first tea several years, after she had passed away. Her daughters, grandchildren and in-laws wanted to do this to remember all the fun times we had when she was still with us. Everybody loved Grandma Classen! I have been so impressed with the closeness of this family. All the cousins love to get together...So as time has passed, the Classen daughters are getting a little tired of arranging all the details of this tea, and some of the granddaughters got elected to organize it this year- namely Yours Truly and Rhonda Cope. Rhonda and I had both been to a little tea room that we thought had delicious food, and both of us recommended it for the site of the party this year. But Rhonda and her daughter could not come this year! We missed them...our attendance was smaller this time, only about 13, but we enjoyed getting together and wearing hats and eating great food! The hostess/cook of our tea room gave us a little short talk about tea etiquette that everyone seemed to appreciate.  I did not get to take pictures of everyone as (of course) my camera batteries got too low, but here are the ones I did get! You will see that we all had a good time!

Here I am, in a hat from my own collection!

My daughter Alison, in a hat she picked from the ones available at the Tea Room.

Alison with her cousin Zella Classen...

One area of the Red Raspberry Tea Room

This is Aunt BulaAnn (Classen) Smith and Aunt Irene (Classen) Cravens searching for hats to wear in the Peacock's Nest

My sister-in-law Angela tried on a pink feather hat...She did not end up wearing it to the table. She said, "This makes me look like a flamingo!"

Here is Zella by herself, wearing a little feathery hat. It looked really cute on her but it's difficult to see in this picture. She is graduating from high school in May! Back in the fall she had some serious health problems but everything seems to be just fine now- we are so thankful...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Defining Grace

Joining Chari @ Happy to Design for another Sunday Favorites blog party!

A rerun of a favorite post originally from November 11, 2009...

"Defining Grace"

God's Grace 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Grace in mentioned 170 times in the Bible. Consider some of the ways it can be defined: 

1. Grace is God's unmerited favor. That is, grace is God doing good for us that we do not deserve. In the Bible, grace and mercy are like two heads of the same coin. Mercy is God withholding judgment or evil that I deserve; grace is God giving me blessing or good that I do not deserve. Because of God's mercy, I do not receive the judgment of God against my sins; because of God's grace, I receive eternal life and a promise of heaven though I do not deserve them. Both mercy and grace come to me though the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Grace can also be defined as God's sufficiency or God's fullness in the life of the believer. God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). That is, the grace of God in Paul enabled him and empowered him in his weakness. Another verse states, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). God's grace working in us supplies the sufficiency whereby we may abound to every good work. I like to call grace "God's enoughness." By this I mean that God is enough for us no matter what the situation we face.

This being the case, you can see that grace is first of all necessary for salvation. Ephesians 2:8 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." One aspect of salvation is called justification. That is the act by which we are declared just (righteous) before God on the basis of the payment Jesus Christ made for our sin. The Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by the grace of God (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7).

But not only are we saved by the grace of God--we also serve the Lord and live the Christian life by the grace of God. The letters of Paul always speak of a blessing of grace for the believers (along with peace). Just for an example, Romans 1:7 states, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul is speaking to believers who are already saved and on their way to heaven, but he also recognizes that they need grace for living the Christian life. They need God's strength and sufficiency.

A good verse to help explain this grace by which we live is 1 Corinthians 15:10 where Paul testified, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." It was God's grace that made him what he was. It was God's goodness working in him that made him the great servant of God he was.

So, obviously, we need the grace of God. We need it first of all for salvation. Without the grace of God, we cannot have eternal life. However, we also need the grace of God for our daily walk with God. Jesus told us that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). But God provides daily strength through His grace working in us. We should seek this grace for living from Him. Then, we should believe that He will provide what He has promised and walk with assurance that His grace is working in us.

All of the above comes from an Original posting by David Reagan at learnthebible.org

I enjoy learning the origins of words. This next little bit about Grace is from Philip Yancey's book, "What's So Amazing About Grace?"
"I call Grace the last best word because every English usage I can find retains some of the glory of the original. Many people "say grace" before a meal, acknowledging daily bread as a  gift from God. We are "grateful" for someone's kindness, "gratified" by good news, "congratulated" when successful, "gracious" in hosting friends. When a service pleases us, we leave a "gratuity". A composer of music may add "grace notes" to the score. Though not essential, they are "gratuitous" and add a flourish whose presence would be missed. In England, subjects address royalty as "Your Grace". Students may "receive a grace" exempting them from certain academic requirements. Parliament declares an "act of grace" to pardon a criminal. A magazine publisher may send "grace issues" free of charge (gratis) to tempt me to resubscribe. Credit card companies extend to customers a "grace period". These many uses of the English word "grace" convince me that it is indeed amazing. The word "grace" contains the essence of the gospel, as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun. I want to know more, to understand more, to experience more grace. And...I would far rather convey grace than explain it."

(end of original post)  (all pictures from Google Images)

I say to all my blog readers, "Grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus!"

(to join the party, click on the Sunday Favorites button in my left column)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shortcut To Peace

I am currently reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot, 'On Asking God Why'.  The chapter Shortcut To Peace is so great that I want to share parts of it here in blogland. I wish every person on the planet that can read could find this!!!!!

Here now is Elisabeth Elliott:

Most of us enjoy talking about ourselves, our problems, our escapades...we want to defend our mistakes ("I was really down that day") and explain our failures ("Couldn't get my head together"). Sin, of course, is highly undignified. We dignify it by calling it something else- trauma, hurts, "syndromes" - We would far rather discuss processes and symptoms than make the radical turnaround that means repentance. It is nicer to be soothed than summoned. We are tempted to think that we shall, through psychological treatment or counseling, arrive at an understanding of ourselves which is deeper and closer to the truth than that which the writer of the book of Proverbs from the Bible perceived. We move much closer to the edge of a precipice where we abandon the protection, restraint, and control of the everlasting Word and may plunge over into the abyss of subjectivism.

I am reminded of the jungle rivers that I used occasionally to travel by canoe. They meandered. It was possible to get where you wanted to go by following the tortuous curves and loops, some of them almost doubling back on themselves; it was also possible to get there on foot by cutting straight through a curve, covering in ten minutes what it would take hours to cover by canoe.

To search out and sort out and hang out all the whys and wherefores of what we call our problems- a few of which just might be plain sins- may be one route to the healing of certain kinds of human difficulties, but I suggest that it may be the longest way home. I say this at the risk of being labeled simplistic, reductionist, obscurantist. But where, I want to know, does Genuine Understanding Begin??  
No man knows the way to it;
It is not found in the land of living men.
The depths of the ocean say, "It is not in us, "
and the sea says, "It is not with me."
Red gold cannot buy it,
Nor can its price be weighed out in silver...
Where then does wisdom come from, 
and where is the source of understanding?
God understands the way to it,
He alone knows its source.
And He said to man:
The fear of the Lord is wisdom,
and to turn from evil is understanding.
-from Job 28, The Bible
The ancient and tested source is revealed in a Book whose reliability, relevance, and accuracy ALL FIELDS of human knowledge continue to corroborate. It is The Bible. My plea is that we START with theology, with the knowledge of God. Without that knowledge, given only to those who turn from evil, there is no jurisdiction in ultimates, no knowledge even of ourselves, no certainty of any kind. My plea is that we give the Word a first hearing, take our bearings there, and turn only after that to whatever branch of science may apply to the need in question. Chances are it will be a more direct route to the truth, a shortcut to peace. The Scriptures encompass the whole man, his whole world, and reveal the Lord of the universe. In them we have not only a perfect frame of reference, but specific and practical instruction, reproof when it's reproof we need, correction when we've gone wrong.

I have found this to be true every time I have tried it. Recently I was in turmoil about some things somebody said to me. I lay awake at night, mentally enacting whole scenes and conversations in which we would "have it out", dragging everything into consciousness, saying everything that was in our minds, pitting what she said against what I said, what she did against what I did, defending and offending, complaining and explaining. I had heard this was what we are supposed to do- get it out, get it up front, express it. But what a devastating business! What a way to consume time, not to mention emotional and spiritual energy! The very process itself gives me the chance to add to my own list of sins against her. "When men talk too much," says Proverbs 10:19, "sin is never far away; common sense holds its tongue."

The Bible prescribes, "Turn from evil. Let that be the medicine to keep you in health." Proverbs 3:7,8 To cut the straight path, a good deal of the jungle of my selfishness has to be slashed through. But is is a much shorter way home.

Thank you, Elisabeth Elliot.

(all photos from Google Images)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Corrie Ten Boom- Let The Children Come

Corrie Ten Boom writes in her book "In My Father's House"...

I was speaking to a group when I challenged parents to "bring your little ones to the Lord Jesus. He has said, 'Let the little children come to me; the kingdom of God is theirs.' " Then I told how I made a decision for Jesus when I was five years old. After that talk I left the platform and went into a small room in the building where I found a father with two little boys, all on their knees. The father had an arm around both of those boys, and I moved back quietly while the man told the boys tenderly that they were not too young to ask Jesus to come into their hearts. What a wonderful heritage those boys have, to know that their father cared enough about them to lead them to a knowledge of their heavenly Father!

Later I received a letter from a lady who told me the results in her life from that evening : "I went home after that meeting and went directly to my little girl, Mary, who was in bed. She knew about the Lord because she had been to a Sunday school, but that night, in her bed, she gave her heart to Jesus. The next morning she said, 'Oh, Mommy, I'm so happy that Jesus is now in my heart. He made me a child of God.' Mary was singing the whole time before she went to school, and I was amazed that she sang many songs about heaven. My husband went to school to pick her up that day, and as he approached the schoolhouse, he noticed that a great many people were standing around, and there obviously must have been an accident. Then he saw what had happened. Mary was on the street, her little body crumpled like a rag doll. She was dead."  As I read that letter my eyes were so filled with tears that the words blurred.  "Mary had passed behind a big transport truck and had not seen another car, which was coming toward her from the other direction. She was killed immediately. My husband brought her little body home. He was in deep despair, but then he remembered the songs Mary had sung that morning. I told him what had happened the evening before, and right then, my husband, who had never made a decision for the Lord Jesus, accepted Him as his Savior. On Mary's burial day many children of her class came to the Lord."
I sat for a long time with that letter on my lap...

During some of my talks I have often repeated this little poem:
     Said a precious little laddie to his father one bright day,
     May I give myself to Jesus, let Him wash my sins away?
     O, my son, but you're so little- wait until you older grow.
     Bigger folks 'tis true do need Him, but little folk are safe, you know.
     Said the father to his laddie as a storm was coming on,
     Are the sheep all safely sheltered, safe within the fold, my son?
     All the big ones are, my father,
     But the lambs, I let them go.
     For I didn't think it mattered...little ones are safe, you know.
      Author unknown

I enjoy reading Corrie Ten Boom's books...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Favorite- Walking and Talking To God

Joining Chari @ Happy to Design for the 50th Sunday Favorites Blog Party. Here is another rerun of a post I did last year...Please pray for the military. There is a special place in our hearts for them now since our son became a Marine...

"When you go to Iraq, the most valuable piece of equipment you are issued is a good pair of boots. Boots are worn in sand, heat, rain, and mud. They have to be comfortable because you wear them everywhere. Some are used to get out of danger, some are worn until the soles come apart, some will knock the stink off a camel - and all are full of sand and covered with dust or mud. Boots are worn anywhere from twelve to twenty-four hours a day- and sometimes even longer.

All of this walking is a good thing - for the spiritual exercise. It seems appropriate that we can walk around and kick up sand and dust in a place where many Old Testament events took place. On the Al Asad air base is a place called Abraham's Oasis, believed to be the stopping point on Abraham's journey mentioned in Genesis 11. The prophet Jonah had to cross modern-day Iraq to reach Ninevah. Plenty of biblical characters spent time walking and talking to God in the desert. Prayer and walking have seemed to go together throughout time. Some of our deepest conversations with God happen as we walk, whether we are traversing the desert, pacing the halls of a hospital, strolling the sidewalks of our neighborhood, the sandy shoreline, the forest trails. So get a sturdy, comfortable pair of boots, walk and talk, kick up some sand...God is always waiting and listening."

Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin,CDR, USN from the book "No Atheists In Foxholes"

I, too, have spent much time in walking and praying. Before I was married, our neighborhood street was scheduled to be split by a highway and many houses were torn down, leaving an open space in the middle of our little drive. I used to walk the street at night and pray...at our former country home in Ringwood we had a long driveway that I loved to walk up and down while praying. Many times I would go out and cry and walk and pray, trusting that no one was eavesdropping! Here in the City I go to a walking trail to exercise, and I do pray while I'm walking, but I can't do it aloud- too many other people are using the trail. One morning I met another woman- I knew she was praying because while she was still a ways off she was speaking- I overheard some of it. When we got closer together, she stopped talking aloud, but then as I moved away from her she started up again. It made me feel like she was a kindred spirit, although we don't want a total stranger to hear us in our private talks with God. Sometimes you don't want to just stay quietly on your knees in prayer- you feel like moving about! Sometimes when I'm alone driving I pray aloud...some-times I have to cry, and I hope other drivers don't wonder too much if they happen to see me bawling.

A Morning Prayer
Grant, almighty God,
that as You shine on us by Your word,
we may not be blind at midday
nor willfully see darkness,
and thus lull our minds asleep:
But, may we be roused daily by Your words,
and may we stir up ourselves more and more to fear Your name
and thus present ourselves and all our pursuits
as a sacrifice to You,
that You may peaceably rule and perpetually dwell in us
until You gather us to Your celestial habitation,
where there is reserved for us eternal rest and glory,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John Calvin

(end of original post)
( all pictures from Google Images)
(to join this blog party, click on the Sunday Favorites button in my left column)

I try to make it a special point to pray for the Americans in uniform- please join me. They have struggles that many of us never have or may not understand.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Thrill of Learning

"There is nothing in this world worth learning that can be learned without a struggle."

That is, in fact, the thrill of learning. If a thing was easy to learn, there would be no kick in mastering it. The thrill is to struggle away with some subject for a long time, and then quite suddenly to have the excitement of discovering that one understands what before was unintelligible.

Damon Runyon
Damon Runyon wrote to his son, "You will improve the more you write. Good writing is simply a matter of application, but I learned many years ago that the words will not put themselves down on paper in dreams or in conversations." Writing is struggling to write- not dreaming about writing, or talking about writing.

Paderewski, perhaps the greatest of the pianists, thought nothing of going over a bar of music as many as forty times until he was sure he was playing it exactly as it ought to be played. Before a concert he always played through his entire programme though no doubt he had already played the pieces of which it was composed times without number. One day he played before Queen Victoria, and the Queen was deeply moved by his performance. "Mr. Paderewski," she said, "you are a genius."  "That may be," answered Paderewski, "but before I was a genius, I was a drudge."

No one will ever acquire any kind of knowledge or any kind of greatness without a struggle. But in the struggle lies the thrill.

 --all of the above is from Daily Celebration by William Barclay, Glasgow,Scotland
William Barclay

(all pictures from Google Images)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pray America

Be not afraid to pray -
to pray is right.
Pray, if thou canst, with hope,
But ever pray
Though hope be weak or sick with long delay.
Pray in the darkness if there be no light.
Far is the time
remote from human sight
When war and discord on the earth shall cease,
Yet every prayer for universal peace
avails the blessed time to expedite.
Whatever is good to wish,
Ask that of Heaven,
though it be what thou canst not hope to see.
Pray to be perfect,
though some forbid the spirit so on earth to be...
But if for any wish thou darest not pray,
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.
-Hartley Coleridge

The Spirit of this Age spoke on a certain day,
"Rise up, my child, and cast thy early faith away."
I rose to go -
My freedom seemed complete.
In Vain!!
Once more, O Lord, behold me at Thy feet.
Thou art the very life which beats within my heart.
I have no power to choose- from Thee I cannot part!
O Light of all the world, that gladdened weary eyes!
The awful unknown Power that in the darkness lies
Thou saidst could be revealed through Thee to mortal eyes.
And what tho' earth and sea His glory do proclaim
Tho' on the stars is writ that great and dreadful Name -
Yea, hear me, Son of Man, -with tears my eyes are dim.
I cannot read the word which draws me close to Him.
I say it after Thee with faltering voice and weak,
"Father of Jesus Christ" -this is the God I seek.
-from Notes and Queries,
December 1881

Do you hear a deep voice calling-
Calling persistently?
Like the sound of God's great waters-
Calling insistently?
Tis the voice of our dead,
our myriad dead,
Calling to you and me --
"We call you from your trifling
With the petty things of life;
We cry aloud for a new world
Vowed to a world-redeeming strife.
Take God once more as Counsellor.
Work with Him, hand in hand,
Build surely in His Grace and Power
The nobler things that shall endure;
And having done all - Stand."
-John Oxenham

Please join me in intercessory prayer for our great nation of America.
(All pictures from Google Images)